Monday, June 22, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler - Review and Book Giveaway

"Once Frankie's asleep, my best-friend superstrength disappears. My breathing shatters, tears blur the stars in the overhead skylight, and all the old ghosts I tried to leave home float like dandelion seed wishes into our room." - Twenty Boy Summer (ARC version) by Sarah Ockler

Best friends, first love, summer vacations, sparkling sea glass, heartache and loss, Sarah Ockler's YA book, Twenty Boy Summer, contains it all. Friends since childhood, Anna and brother and sister duo Frankie and Matt spend all their time together. But a frosting covered kiss between Matt and Anna on Anna's 15th birthday changes the dynamic of the friendship between the three friends. The two keep their relationship a secret from Frankie, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her and let it sink in. But before the secret is divulged their lives tragically change. Matt dies. Frankie and Anna struggle to deal with the loss, neither able to truthfully share their feelings with each other. A year later and still grieving in their own separate ways they set out on a "family vacation" with Frankie's parents to Zanzibar Bay, vowing to meet 20 boys and have the Absolute Best Summer Ever.

Ockler takes readers on ocean wave ride of emotions in her debut book, writing from Anna's point of view about the highs of new found love and the lows of death and sadness. Ockler's honest dealings with grief and her ability to portray the reality of how quickly life can change, how quickly friendships can change, how families can be torn apart and brought back together by sorrow--that is the strength of this book. It is easy to relate to each of the characters; their feelings and emotions are very real as well as the descriptions of place. I could feel the summer ocean breeze, listen to the calming shhh, ahhh of the waves and understand the elation and sadness of each individual. I found myself transported right back to my teenage years, back to the experiences of the first kiss, first boyfriend, first time falling in love.

Twenty Boy Summer contains many perfect, wonderful parts. Sea glass, sometimes thought of as tears of a love sick mermaid, perfectly symbolizes grief and a broken heart. I loved how Ockler used sea glass in her book, how Anna comes to terms with her own fractured heart and can find beauty in something broken. However, I must mention that I also found myself I bit disappointed by some not so perfect parts. The book's title is 20 Boy Summer. I realized there would be boy moments, boy crushes, that sort of thing. But, as a Christian and mother, I was bothered by the carefree treatment of the loss of one's virginity, an “albatross” to be cast off. The book does not effectively deal with the emotions involved in a physical relationship and because of some of the mature content of the book involving sex and drinking, I cannot recommend it for younger teens. I wish that Ockler had dealt with this part of her plot in a different way because overall the book is wonderfully written, a compelling and touching YA read perfect for a summer day.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Little, Brown and Company (June 2009); 304 pages; ISBN 9780316051590; Young Adult
ARC Review copy provided for free by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Related links:
Sarah Ockler: Author Website
20 Things in 20 Days Scavenger Hunt (June 11 to June 30)

Win a copy! Thanks to Little, Brown and Company (2) Brimful Curiosities readers will receive their own copy of 20 Boy Summer.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only; must be 18 years or older; if younger, you must obtain parental permission before accepting prize
• Contest ends on Monday, July 6th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Welcome all blog carnival friends. This giveaway is part of the YA Book Carnival at Shooting Stars Mag.


Cindy said...

I'd love to enter!

cnhand84 at yahoo dot com

+ 1 I follower
+1 Blogged on sidebar

Sounds like a good book!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good book to just curl up with and read to your hearts content.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Enter me please..
I am also having a giveaway at my blog..


Jennifer said...

Hmm, I've got a young library patron who only reads Gossip Girly type books - and is always requesting more! Maybe she might like this, it sounds like a painless way to get a little more variety into her reading (-:) Enter us please!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that about sea glass - how interesting!

Please enter me!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I subscribe to your blog on Google reader.

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Amanda said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks for hosting the contest.


Anonymous said...

The book sounds like it would be a great one to read. So many things can happen to cause friendships and relationships to change throughout our lives.


Marie said...

I really want to read this, I've heard such great things about it!

chinesedolphin94 said...

Ive been wanting to read this! looks so good
Thanks for the contest!

valerie2350 said...

Unknown said...

Looks like a good read, please enter me into this drawing.

I'm also a recent follower of your blog.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway.

Unknown said...

I've also blogged about this giveaway here.


Unknown said...

Yahoo! We like to read books. Thanks.

gahome2mom at gmail dot com

Becky W. said...

No need to enter me, but I wanted to agree with your review. I loved this book, but I wasn't okay with the way one's virginity was portrayed either.

The writing was great though, so like you, I wish she'd have done something different there.

You can check out my review here.

D Q said...

Sounds like a good read. Please enter my name in the drawing.

rubynreba said...

Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the chance.

Unknown said...

I would really, really love to win this book! :)


Valorie said...

I'd love a chance to win. <3

I subscribe via the feed.




Staci A said...

It sounds like an interesting read. I love reading YA books because they are usually a pretty quick read, which is about all I can squeeze in sometimes.

CherylS22 said...

Thanks for the great review! I'd love a chance to read this book.

Please count me in - Thanks!

nfmgirl said...

I blogged it:

minishoes1 said...

I have been wanting to read this! Thanks!

Esme said...

Count me in -thanks

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

Carlene said...

Please include me in your giveaway.

Christi S said...

sounds like a great summer read for one of my two teenage nieces! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great beach read!!

I subscribe through Google Reader =)

Ladytink_534 said...

YA is such a great genre nowadays isn't it? I've heard good things about this one.


Ginny said...

This book sounds very good & relevant. I'd love to add to my tweens collection for when she is a bit older.

rubynreba said...

Please enter me - looks like it would be a good book.

Anita Yancey said...

This book sounds good. Please enter me. Thanks!


ossmcalc said...

I follow and subscribe. This sounds like an awesome book for summertime reading.

Thank you,


ossmcalc said...

I would love to win a copy of this book, especially since I work with high school students.

Thank you,


Sarah said...

Perfect summer book! Count me in. :)

+1 I'm a follower.

Thanks for the giveaway

Libby's Library said...

As a mother and grandmother - I totally agree with you on the matter of "free sex". There must be some young women who value chastity.


tina reynolds said...

Looks like a really good book thanks for the chance

Eleni said...


+1 I am now a follower
+1 I am following you on Twitter and also twitted about giveaway -


Esme said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

Donna said...

Sounds like a great book! I don't believe I have ever read anything by this author.

Vera said...

Been seeing this book everywhere and would love to give it a try!

Sue W. said...

I would really enjoy winning this book. Sometimes YA books are so much better than adult ones.


Paradox said...

I've wanted to read this book for a long time!!!

+1 I follow your blog on Google Reader.
+1 I follow you on Twitter and linked to the contest as ParadoxRevealed.

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

ChristyJan said...

This sounds like a fun summer read.

Please enter me

Mozi Esme said...

Would love a chance to read this - the sea glass symbolism fascinates me. Though I'm not excited by how you've described the virginity/sex aspect.

And I'm following!

Darcy said...

Sounds like a good read for my daughter -- and me!


Anonymous said...

I would love to win.